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    Sharks to block out crowd

    2014-05-07 22:00
    Durban -  The 2014 Super Rugby competition has enjoyed one particular trend over the course of the pool stages to date and that is that winning away from home is one tough assignment.

    The Cell C Sharks embarked on their overseas tour off the back of a statistic that didn’t read well for South African teams in New Zealand and Australia, and on Friday became the first SA side to win overseas this season.

    Reflecting on the result, flank Jean Deysel admits that there were smiles all around following the result.

    “Any win away from home is great and starting the tour with a win means a lot to the guys,” he told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick. “The mood in the camp is really high as is the morale, so we can only build from there.”

    Being the only side of the five South African franchises to have tasted success overseas, he admits that home ground advantage is very much a disadvantage for the visiting side.

    “Having your home crowd behind you makes a huge difference, it lifts their side and intimidates the touring team. But we have a good squad and a great bunch of guys, and we’ll block out the crowd factor. We have the Brumbies this weekend in Canberra and would love to do well. We’ll see how it pans out with the foreign crowd.”

    Although there would have been some talk of the opportunity to be the first South African side to win on tour this year, he admits that it wasn’t a major motivating force for them.

    “It was spoken about, but not in great detail and no great emphasis was placed on it. You want to win every game on tour, and yes, they are tougher when you’re not at home. So it wasn’t the main thing on our minds, we just wanted to get the tour off to a good start.”

    ‘Touring well and having fun’ could well be the Sharks’ motto over the years. Hard work and no play make for a dull tour, and boredom and restlessness do not equate to successful ingredients for touring.

    Director of Rugby Jake White explained before they left that he wanted the tour to have a strong element of fun to it, that there is a time for rugby and a time for training, but outside of that, there must be a time for pleasure.

    “We enjoy touring, we have a good bunch of guys and we enjoy each other’s company,” added Deysel. “There is a lot of interaction and having to spend so much time together is a lot of fun. Look, training is hard. When we get to the pitch, we put on our boots and have a heavy work-out, but when we have free time outside of training, we spend a lot of time with each other. If you are on tour and keep the boys together like that, it’s massive.”

    But the taking on the Brumbies in Canberra is a serious conversation and there is no lack of motivation or excitement for this big game.

    “It’s going to be massive. It’s like a final, a top of the table clash. It’s not going to be easy, but we have been working really hard this week training-wise, and the boys are up for it. We know what we want to do, it’s about getting out onto the park and delivering. They’re having a great season, they’re at home, so we know we have a big game on the weekend and we’re really looking forward to it. We hope we can deliver for the fans back home and for the rest of the boys on tour.”

    Kick for Saturday's clash is scheduled for 11:40 (SA time).

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